Dear Sam: I am a 54-year-old Administrative Assistant who was laid off last August. I have had several phone and in-person interviews during this time; however, I have not received a job offer. Even though the employers won’t tell you, I feel my age has been a factor in my unemployment. Do you know of any organizations or employment agencies that specifically help people over 50? I really need to find a job soon. – Marge
Dear Marge: I am so sorry to hear you have struggled in your job search. Here in my area of the country there is an organization called Employment for Seniors that works exclusively with candidates 50 years of age and older. I am certain there would be similar nonprofit organizations in your area to help with your job search, but, you really would not need to connect with one that only specialized in supporting more seasoned candidates given you are on the younger end of the “senior” spectrum, and as you possess very strong career experiences with limited other potential disqualifiers.
Rather than point to your age as the key factor for your unemployment, I would argue that—as you are only presenting 20 years of experience on your resume—your resume is not dating you unnecessarily and therefore is not giving away your age. Now I know you mentioned not receiving job offers after an in-person interview, but I have to say that there is so much room for improvement on your resume that perhaps potential employers could not “see” the value your years of experience was going to yield.
Focus on reshaping your candidacy on paper, utilizing best practices in presenting both responsibilities and accomplishments—check out my website for content and design ideas—and create a more value-added presentation of your background. You might not realize that by presenting outdated technologies, a high school diploma, and multiple fragmented three-to-five-word bullet points, you are really not painting the picture of you being a technically savvy, up-to-date, and skilled administrative specialist. Work on this—and brush up your interviewing skills—and I am confident you will receive more interest, interviews, and offers.